Ramen Noodle Skillet

Ramen Noodle Skillet was a hit with my kids when they were in school and it still is one of my favorite recipes.  I think the noodles were the attraction for them. I like it because you can use just about any vegetable that you have in your garden or vegetable drawer, only one pan gets dirty, and you can have the meal on the table in 15 minutes.


Meat is the more expensive part of meals in the US.  The bad news is that the money people are saving because of the gas price drop in recent weeks is likely to be offset by increased prices in beef, pork, and chicken.  USDA is predicting meat prices to increase 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent in 2012.

The Ramen Noodle Skillet recipe can help you stretch your meat dollar.  If you have leftover chicken, pork chop, or roast, you can store them in the freezer instead of letting them dry out in the refrigerator.  When you have about 2 cups, thaw, for Ramen Noodle Skillet and you have another meal without additional meat expense.

Ramen Noodle Skillet

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 carrot, chopped or sliced into small pieces
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetable mixture, thawed
  • 2 cups cooked meat or poultry cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (3-ounce) package beef-flavored instant ramen noodles, broken into pieces

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and carrots and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes).
  • Thaw the broccoli mixture in the microwave and drain.
  • Add the broccoli and cooked meat to the skillet. Stir and heat (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Add the noodle seasonings to the water and stir into the pan.
  • Break apart the ramen noodles. Add to the skillet when the water simmers. Stir to moisten the noodles. Cover the skillet and cook until done (about 2 minutes).
  • Serve immediately.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use cooked meat and vegetables from other meals.
  • Substitute 1 pound of ground beef or turkey to yield two cups of meat.
  • Rinse cooked, crumbled ground beef with hot tap water to reduce fat by 50 percent.

What’s Good about Hash Browns?

Are they inexpensive?  For sure.
Are they healthy?  That depends.

  • If your hash browns swim in oil as they are prepared and then get smothered in cheese … NO.
  • If they are low in fat and sodium … YES.
  • If they have added vegetables … EVEN BETTER!  We’ve explained exactly how to make them that way on the SpendSmart. Eat Smart recipe page.

The Healthy Hash Browns recipe  calls for Best Baked Potatoes, because one secret to great hash browns is starting with great baked potatoes. We do this by baking the potatoes, unwrapped, at a high temperature. (Save the foil for another recipe!)

You can keep baked potatoes for up to three days.  Make sure you let them cool, then place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate.  (If you put them in hot, they will sweat in the bag. Soggy is not good. Dry is not either, so do use the bag.)

TIP – Keep baked potatoes in mind when you already have your oven heated to 425°F. You’ll save energy  if you do not heat your oven just for the potatoes.

In fact, you can do even more than make hash browns with your extra baked potatoes…

  • Add to scrambled eggs with some diced ham and fresh spinach for a yummy egg dish
  • Warm and top with leftover chili, cooked vegetables and cheese, or spaghetti sauce
  • Create a soup with vegetables, legumes, and a low fat vegetable broth.

 

Healthy Hash Browns

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 cups diced Best Baked Potatoes, skins on
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, onion, carrot, and minced garlic (if using). Cook about 5 minutes or until boom is golden brown. Flip or stir and continue cooking a few minutes.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if used).

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